The greatest constant in organisations today is that they are always changing!
Most successful organisations seek to be agile and innovative in order to stay ahead of the game and get the edge over their competitors. It’s no surprise then that this is leading to continual change and adaptation in the workplace. Humans innately find change difficult, and it’s during these times of change that individuals within organisations may have their wellbeing compromised.
Some individuals may feel high levels of stress and anxiety, or even depression, during these uncertain times. Many organisations are now introducing multiple initiatives at once, leading to a new phenomenon known as ‘initiative fatigue’.
Individuals react to stress in various ways, so we are seeing a range of behaviours and responses including: ignoring or fighting the changes, manipulating the situation for personal advantage, silently waiting to be informed and involved, or embracing the changes and enthusiastically becoming an advocate – quite a spectrum!
Regardless of how your people respond to change, constant and effective communication will have a positive impact. Good communication can provide a sense of purpose and give people back a level of certainty and control, all of which reduces stress and anxiety, enabling your organisation to remain productive during these uncertain times.
Here are 4 key insights into good communication that can help during times of change and transformation:
- Involve leaders at all levels across your organisation – not just the Executive Leadership Team but also importantly your People Leaders. The most trusted person in an organisation is an employee’s immediate manager, so ensuring middle managers and supervisors are informed, onboard and are well supported to explain and talk with employees about change can really assist in ensuring the success of your transformation initiatives.
- Establish ongoing communication. Often there’s a lot of focus on the launch or announcement of a change initiative but this is just one stage in any change or transformation. While there’s often resistance to communicating early, especially around sensitive changes, waiting for absolute certainty or making surprise announcements can backfire. Through careful planning and preparation early communication enables you to gain trust and credibility. While ongoing communication facilitates sustainable change as opportunities for people to gain greater understanding of what is happening, how it will affect them and their role in the change is clarified and embedded over time.
- Utilise and leverage a variety of channels – traditional and emerging. We have diverse workplaces that are intergenerational. People have various communication preferences, so it is important to cater to everyone, so that everyone is included.
- Make sure there are opportunities for two-way communication. Good communication is not only being told what’s happening, but having the opportunity to be heard and, ideally, contribute!
Traditionally, communication is one of the lowest scoring areas in company engagement surveys. People rarely feel they are well informed, let alone part of the conversation about what is happening or how it affects them. So if you want to promote a healthy culture where employees can thrive, productivity is enhanced and stress is reduced, a good place to start is improving your communication – you’ll also see a lift in your engagement scores!
Much of the work we do at Loulaki Blue involves providing communications support to organisations as they go through periods of significant change and transformation, helping them establish healthy organisational cultures throughout this journey.
We’d love the opportunity to support you and your organisation, so please don’t hesitate to contact us to find out more about our approach and services.